Romans 8, verse 1 is one of those precious verses that says so much to so many Christians. But are you reading it properly? Most of us, read this verse as a declaration of justifying grace. There is no condemnation for the Christian because of justifying Grace. No longer, is there any warrant out for our execution, for our damnation, for our eternal condemnation. Because of Jesus, because He was condemned in our room and stead, we are free; we stand forgiven at the cross. Fully forgiven. Finally forgiven. Forever forgiven.
This is all true, but it is not the truth Paul is teaching here. Follow his logic with me:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” How do we know this is true? Paul tells us, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” We know from the end of Romans 7 that when Paul speaks of the, ‘the law of sin and death,’ he is describing the way sin tries to rule us. It operates as a law in our hearts, telling us what to do (Romans 7:21-23)! Following this law is the way of death (Romans 8:2).
For the Christian, however, there is another voice speaking in our hearts, “The law of the Spirit of life,” and it speaks with even greater authority and effect, bringing with it all of the resurrection power of Christ. Flowing from His life, this law commands the life of the Spirit by the Spirit. As a result, we no longer have to say yes to sin, we no longer have to fill our mind with sin, our mouth with sin, and our life with sin. We are free to say, “No!”
All of this flows from Christ’s work on the cross. Our fleshly attempt to keep the law behind the back of Christ offer no help whatsoever. Paul continues, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Aping the title of John Owen’s famous work: The death of Christ is the death of sin. The death of sin’s power to condemn us, and the death of sin’s power to control us. Now Christian, as we resist the temptation to walk in the flesh, and as we choose instead to walk by the Spirit, we have the ability to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. We are able not to sin.
Christian: are you walking around under a constant cloud of condemnation because you feel caught in a particular habit of sin? Look to Jesus, live by the Spirit, and say, “No, more!” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Sin is no longer my master. For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the Sons of God.” To do this, of course, we need to be in the Word. Are you? We kid ourselves if we think we can abide in the Savior without abiding in the Scriptures, with prayer. As the old proverb rightly says about the Bible, “Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” If the latter happens, it will also keep us from the Spirit who works by and with His word in our hearts. So, awake, my brother, my sister, let us open our Bible’s this morning, and in this happy tome, may we find our Savior and His Spirit always ready to guide us on the way to life , working in us to make us ready and willing to obey God, promptly and sincerely..